eSN Hero Awards Finalists: 11 inspiring educators

That is Half 2 of a two-part characteristic highlighting the eSN Ok-12 Hero Awards finalists. Half 1, spotlighting 10 extra finalists, might be discovered here.

The eSchool News K-12 Hero Awards acknowledge the devoted efforts of schooling professionals throughout Ok-12 departments, together with IT, curriculum, instruction and administration. 

This system obtained an inflow of inspiring nominations that spotlight the innovation and selflessness of educators in colleges and districts throughout the nation.

Listed right here in alphabetical order by faculty/district title are 10 of the awards program finalists. (Examine 10 extra finalists here!)

Learn concerning the three 2023 winners here.

Leap to: Johnston County Public Schools, Carol Cleveland, Colene Hardy, Joey Norris, Jhone M. Ebert, Adam Hyman, Aaron Schwartz, Robert Palazzo, Ramaz School, Daniel Thompson, Dr. Richard Labbe

Johnston County Public Faculties
Nominated by: Savvas Learning Company

Whereas latest statistics from NAEP (The Nation’s Report Card) present vital declines in math scores throughout the nation, Johnston County Public Faculties in North Carolina has defied that development. Knowledge launched on the finish of the 2021-22 faculty 12 months confirmed the district elevated math scores by double digits in grades 3-8, outperforming pre-COVID ranges. These good points led the North Carolina Division of Public Instruction to single out Johnston County as probably the most improved faculty district within the state. How did the district do it?

Johnston County Public Faculties elevated its districtwide math scores to above state averages by implementing a year-over-year plan for high-quality arithmetic instruction, which included the adoption of Savvas Studying Firm’s enVision® sequence for grades Ok-12, an evidence-based, classroom-tested core math curriculum delivered on the Savvas Notice studying administration system platform.

Previous to the 2021-2022 faculty 12 months, the district’s evaluation information confirmed math scores have been low, contributing to 14 out of 48 colleges within the district being recognized as low performing in 2019. Johnston County district leaders made it a precedence to seek out out the place they have been going unsuitable. They quickly realized that their technique for letting lecturers put collectively their very own math instruction was a part of the issue. They wanted a cohesive core math curriculum that they may roll out districtwide.

After months of analysis and a profitable pilot, the district selected enVision to be that core arithmetic curriculum due to its rigor, digital studying elements, and interesting classes. enVision presents an progressive math curriculum that helps educators train with confidence and evokes college students with hands-on, problem-based studying.

Savvas labored with the district to efficiently implement enVision and develop a multi-year skilled improvement plan for lecturers. After one 12 months of utilizing enVision, Johnston County noticed actual development. From 2021 to 2022, it gained 16 proportion factors in math proficiency for grades 3-8, and 9 proportion factors for grades 9-12, outperforming statewide averages of a 10-point achieve in grades 3-8 and an 8-point achieve in grades 9-12.

Johnston County educators are assured they may proceed to see development, and so they credit score Savvas for being a part of the “correct mix of experience, sources, and help” that’s delivering actual outcomes for the district’s college students.

Savvas is proud to name out Johnston County Public Faculties as an impressive instance of Ok-12 success utilizing enVision — a real “Ok-12 Hero” utilizing its progressive schooling expertise.

Carol Cleveland, Government Director, Group Faculties, Kent College District
Nominated by: Hazel Health

Hazel Well being (Hazel) nominates Carol Cleveland in honor of her dedication to the psychological and bodily well-being of scholars throughout the Kent College District. Ms. Cleveland’s management and imaginative and prescient for equitable healthcare entry have been instrumental in increasing entry to healthcare providers for college students throughout the district.

Ms. Cleveland got here into her place below difficult circumstances, together with a instructor strike that delayed the beginning of the college 12 months in August 2022. Throughout this time, mother and father and educators voiced issues concerning the lack of psychological well being help for college students. Throughout a district board assembly, Ms. Cleveland spoke on the significance of psychological well being providers and advocated for an answer: “Our youngsters who’re proficient and have a lot potential are experiencing wants which might be going unmet.” Ms. Cleveland acknowledged the necessity and have become a powerful advocate for Hazel Well being, a telehealth firm that gives psychological well being providers to college students for free of charge to households.

The district initially launched Hazel in 10 pilot colleges in January 2022. Ms. Cleveland relentlessly advocated for equitable entry to Hazel’s psychological well being providers in all district colleges fairly than limiting providers to a small group. Her proposal was accepted by the district’s board in October 2022, ensuing within the enlargement of Hazel Well being to a further 8 colleges.

Nevertheless, there have been nonetheless 25 elementary colleges within the district with out entry to Hazel’s psychological well being sources. Ms. Cleveland understood the significance of gaining the help and belief of faculty directors and psychological well being workers, so she took it upon herself to personally meet with all of the principals in any respect 25 elementary colleges to handle their issues and clarify intimately the scope of providers Hazel Well being may provide. “Out of the 25 principals I spoke to, 21 of them stated, ‘We wish it, we want it, what do we have to do to get it?’”

Via persistent efforts, Ms. Cleveland efficiently secured funding to increase to those 25 elementary colleges, bringing Hazel providers to greater than 25,000 extra college students within the district.

Ms. Cleveland’s advocacy and perseverance prolonged past psychological well being providers as she oversaw the district-wide launch of Hazel’s at-home bodily well being providers, the place college students can meet with a medical supplier just about from the consolation of their very own houses for free of charge, no matter insurance coverage standing. In June 2023, she efficiently obtained board approval for a second 12 months of district-wide bodily and psychological well being providers for Kent College District.

Ms. Cleveland’s tireless dedication to serving Kent College District has benefited college students, households, and college workers in unimaginable methods. Her perseverance has expanded healthcare entry for college students, and she or he has demonstrated what it means to be a pacesetter in Ok-12 schooling.

Colene Hardy, English Trainer and Educational Know-how Coach, Lake Forest College Districts 67 and 115
Nominated by: Logitech

In her twin function as an English instructor and an tutorial expertise coach for Lake Forest College Districts 67 and 115 in Illinois, Colene Hardy has created a deep, complete, and repeatable strategy to edtech within the classroom. She harnesses the ability of many platforms, units, and peripherals to supply her college students personalised instruction, inclusivity, data-driven suggestions, cross-cultural exchanges, and the help of different educators at their faculty.

Via digital labs and subject journeys, simulations, and scenario-based studying, Colene presents advanced ideas to her college students in methods they discover simpler to grasp and hook up with real-world purposes.

In a latest research by the Worldwide Olympic Committee, greater than half of younger folks (55 p.c) stated they loved faculty extra on days they get to do bodily exercise. As a result of transferring round has been proven to deliver many advantages to college students, she usually designs actions that take her children outdoors the classroom, ingeniously folding within the options of her edtech sources. For instance, in a single exercise, she supercharges a daily lesson by having college students report explanations of what they’ve realized on their iPads. As soon as college students in one in every of her courses had the intense concept of utilizing the magnetic strip on their Logitech Rugged Combo Keyboard instances to stay the iPads to the steel lockers within the hallway, this already highly effective exercise started to unlock much more edtech benefits: Now, it reinforces and clarifies college students’ considering, will get them transferring, permits her to trace their progress with the day’s ideas, and consists of college students who would possibly in any other case have bother holding an iPad regular sufficient to make an excellent recording.

This expertise for seeing how edtech can rework, fairly than change, conventional strategies enhances each resolution Colene makes within the classroom. So, she might have her college students kind in Google Docs with their tablets as a substitute of writing by hand, to supply them the moment suggestions of the platform’s interactive built-in spelling and grammar checker. However she’ll even have them report their screens and annotate their essays with a stylus. This mixture strategy comprises the very best of all worlds: It accommodates completely different studying types, makes classes dynamic and interactive, and consists of the advantages of handwriting with a stylus, reminiscent of improved motor management and higher retention.

Along with her knowledgeable information of edtech options and her dedication to creating schoolwork partaking, environment friendly, and efficient, Colene has set herself aside as a real Ok-12 hero.

Joey Norris, Coordinator of Know-how Integration, McDowell County Faculties
Nominated by:

Joey Norris is a real instructional hero who returned to his house county in West Virginia to make a distinction. He’s devoted to the success of the lecturers and college students of McDowell County and is a shining instance of the constructive affect one particular person could make in a neighborhood.

Amid the pandemic, Joey’s considerate and deliberate implementation plan ensured the scholars of McDowell County had equitable entry to digital literacy and pc science schooling. Joey fastidiously tailor-made curriculum pathways to fulfill college students’ wants. This practice curriculum, which was a brand new studying expertise for many college students, delivered the important abilities college students wanted to be protected on-line.

At this time, Joey continues to offer considerate planning to the curriculum and has continued to increase the pathways to incorporate 12 digital literacy ideas. Whether or not a pupil’s subsequent step is on-line evaluation, core topic productiveness, or school and profession readiness, McDowell County college students enter the atmosphere with a confidence that comes from familiarity with digital literacy ideas.

Joey can be an amazing help to lecturers, offering sturdy skilled improvement to assist them enhance their confidence in integrating expertise into their core curriculum.

Joey embraces the concept that partaking expertise might be leveraged to assist college students improve their digital journey, which can put together them to not simply survive however excel in a digital world. Joey empowers college students and lecturers to realize nice success within the classroom and sooner or later.

Jhone M. Ebert, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Nevada Division of Schooling
Nominated by: Discovery Education

The shift to distance schooling precipitated by the COVID pandemic highlighted challenges together with entry to expertise, skilled studying for educators, and high-quality tutorial supplies. To satisfy this problem, in the summertime of 2020, Jhone Ebert, Nevada State’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, introduced the launch of the Nevada Digital Studying Collaborative (DLC).

An progressive initiative designed to bridge the digital divide throughout Nevada, the Digital Studying Collaborative sought to perform the next:

  • Work with state companions to ascertain equitable entry for all college students to units and the web the place they dwell
  • Present high-quality skilled improvement that drives ROI on the state’s edtech funding for all educators on instruments and pedagogy that create partaking studying experiences on-line and in a blended mannequin and in all grades and topics
  • Guarantee all college students and educators have entry to rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum, reminiscent of that supplied by NVDOE associate Discovery Schooling, to help instruction in each face-to-face, on-line, and blended environments

Whereas initially created to fulfill the challenges of educating within the COVID period, the DLC has grow to be an integral a part of educating and studying in Nevada within the post-COVID world. Via its best-in-class digital sources and highly effective skilled studying alternatives, the DLC is future-proofing the state’s lecture rooms as it’s connecting the schooling college students are receiving within the classroom to the world past the college yard.

The Discovery Schooling sources supplied by the DLC are funded partly by a singular public-private partnership with Nevada Gold Mines. Nevada Gold Mines’ collaboration with the Nevada Division of Schooling and Discovery Schooling demonstrates a long-standing dedication to the state. As a world chief in mining, Nevada Gold Mines instantly invests in social and financial alternatives together with schooling, the atmosphere, well being, financial improvement, and cultural heritage. Now in its third 12 months, the DLC and its progressive funding construction has grow to be a mannequin program emulated by different schooling programs within the nation.

Because of the management of Jhone Ebert, all public faculty programs and constitution colleges throughout Nevada now have entry to dynamic digital sources and supportive skilled studying that’s serving to to help the success of all learners. Ebert’s efforts are being emulated nationally, and her division has been acknowledged for constructing highly effective public-private partnerships that help pupil studying.

Adam Hyman, Media Arts Know-how Trainer, Public College 101, New York Metropolis Public Faculties
Nominated by: Logitech

Adam Hyman is a veteran media arts expertise instructor who empowers college students to create in a method that challenges them, fulfills them, and displays the world round them. College students in the present day are deeply ingrained within the “creator tradition,” with one-third of kids ages 8-12 aspiring to be a YouTuber or vlogger. Adam determined to faucet into the motion, integrating content material creation into the curriculum not solely to extend pupil engagement and college neighborhood connections, but additionally to assist college students develop self-confidence and put together them for twenty first century careers.

To do that, he created BEE TV, a student-led every day faculty newscast from Public College 101 in New York Metropolis. BEE TV began throughout the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic as a approach to share what was occurring at college with households who have been at house. The mini broadcast studio inside his faculty makes use of a Logitech BRIO Webcam and Litra Beam mild for a professional-like expertise. Native information stations have run a number of tales on BEE TV for instance of how educators can catalyze creativity and provides college students possession over their very own studying journeys. These are precisely the targets that Adam has tried to realize via edtech throughout his 24-year educating profession.

Adam has College Constructing Management and Schooling Know-how Specialist certifications, and he acts as Public College 101’s Promethean Panel and ClassFlow Lead and Licensed Trainer. Whereas educating media arts expertise in Grades 1–5, Adam continues to push the boundaries of edtech ahead and uncover new, insightful methods to maintain his college students, and his whole faculty neighborhood, enthusiastic about studying.

Aaron Schwartz, Affiliate Principal, North Scott Excessive College
Nominated by: IPVideo

In his function, Aaron Schwartz is all the time searching for the scholars at North Scott Excessive College and investigating options to maintain a protected and safe studying atmosphere. From lively shooter drills to safety options, he’s regarded upon by the district to seek out options to maintain college students protected.

Within the 21-22 faculty 12 months, the district has obtained greater than 20 EMS calls for college students who have been struggling at numerous ranges, together with seizures. The suspicion was that this was associated to vaping in the highschool restrooms, but it surely couldn’t be confirmed, and the scholar victims weren’t divulging the supply. This created anxiousness throughout the district and neighborhood to different potential causes.

Decided to establish and stop the issue Aaron discovered an answer within the HALO Sensible Sensor from IPVideo Company, a vape detection and privateness safety gadget for colleges. Aaron pushed the district to trial the product, which led to a full implementation within the loos all through the highschool.

Since set up, the HALO units served as a deterrent to vaping within the restrooms and no additional EMS calls occurred. The identification of the issue additionally put fellow college students and the neighborhood relaxed. Aaron’s efforts recognized an issue, discovered an answer to guard college students, and supplied for a safer studying atmosphere.

Robert Palazzo, Principal, Panther Valley Elementary College
Nominated by: 95 Percent Group

Proudly owning as much as a mistake takes braveness. And when you find yourself answerable for serving to greater than 650 PreK-3 college students construct the literacy basis mandatory for fulfillment in class, careers, and life, admitting it makes you a hero.

Robert Palazzo, principal at Panther Valley Elementary College in rural Pennsylvania, is thought for his potential to make issues occur for his college students. A Title 1 faculty with 80 p.c of scholars on free and lowered lunch and 20 p.c in particular schooling, staying laser targeted on making certain college students have the sources they should thrive is all the time high of thoughts for Robert.

This dedication to assembly the wants of his college students has served the college properly. Since taking up as principal in 2017, Robert has established a pre-kindergarten and cast artistic partnerships in the neighborhood to boost funds to construct a brand new playground and launch a school-based remedy program.

And so, when it got here time to give attention to elevating his college students’ studying scores, Robert was positive he’d discovered the reply within the ideas of Balanced Literacy.

Besides, after a 12 months and a half of utilizing this hand-picked program, Robert needed to admit the reality: His college students simply weren’t studying easy methods to learn.

Robert referred to as a gathering with workers and school and confessed the robust lesson realized: What we’re doing simply isn’t working. It’s time to attempt one thing new.

On the similar time, a nationwide motion away from Balanced Literacy towards the science of studying had begun. Robert did analysis and found the One95 Literacy Ecosystem, which is rooted within the ideas of the science of studying and evidence-based tutorial methods. This system would give college students a much-needed basis in core phonics.

Paying for this system would require ingenuity–a talent Robert had honed. He reached out to the muse of an area enterprise already supporting the college and satisfied it to repurpose its philanthropy to help the brand new studying program. Coupled with ESSER funds, Panther Valley Elementary College was poised to make the funding in a brand new chapter of studying achievement for its college students.

The enhancements in pupil studying skills have been speedy and impactful. Not solely did studying scores soar, pleasure and confidence is clear in all places. When Robert reminded a pupil in the future to not run within the hallway, the response was, “I can’t! I’ve to run! I’m so excited to study!”

As Dr. Jonathan Ross, president of the Pennsylvania Principals Affiliation, famous upon Robert’s choice to the Nationwide Distinguished Principal program, “Mr. Palazzo stops at nothing to safe wanted providers for his college students. In consequence, the lecturers, workers, and neighborhood at massive really feel part of one thing higher than themselves that may undoubtedly form the lives of a era of kids for the higher.”

Ramaz College
Nominated by: RobotLAB Inc.

Ramaz is a contemporary Orthodox day faculty that has lately carried out an AI LAB by RobotLAB of their center faculty.

RobotLAB labored instantly with the Ramaz workforce to debate the customization and implementation of their lab. This lab consists of numerous STEM merchandise, modular seating, and curriculum.

The AI LAB is designed to permit college students to work in numerous stations reminiscent of: Humanoid Robotics, Trade 4.0, Sensible transportation, and VR, amongst others. These new instruments will information college students via a number of programming languages and hands-on experiences with superior ideas, the place robotics and coding grow to be a part of their every day studying.

Daniel Thompson, Science Trainer, Ron Clark Academy
Nominated by: Boxlight

Instructing on the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Ga., Daniel Thompson’s unimaginable dedication to transformative science schooling for his college students speaks volumes about his drive to boost educating and studying. With over 7 years of educating expertise, Thompson’s dedication carefully aligns with RCA’s mission of delivering impactful studying experiences to a various pupil physique.

Thompson’s educating strategy is visionary, putting a powerful emphasis on hands-on engagement and fostering real understanding. He skillfully guides his college students via charming scientific exploration, encouraging curiosity and a ardour for studying. Thompson’s progressive methodologies lengthen past conventional educating, permitting his college students to understand advanced ideas via tangible experiences.

For instance, Thompson has leveraged the Labdisc All-in-One Science Lab from Boxlight to raise the educational expertise for his college students. This progressive device, with its distinctive capabilities, helps Thompson’s mission to make STEM schooling accessible and provoking for his college students. By incorporating Labdisc into his educating strategies, Thompson has amplified his college students’ engagement and supplied them with a glimpse into the probabilities of scientific careers.

Thompson’s affect reaches past the classroom, as he aspires to empower his college students to see themselves as future scientists. This aligns completely with RCA’s dedication to fostering educational excellence and a constructive studying atmosphere. Thompson’s dedication to nurturing genuine curiosity and connection to the world of science resonates deeply along with his various pupil physique.

Daniel Thompson’s progressive educating strategy, mixed along with his dedication to creating STEM schooling attainable and provoking, highlights his function as an educator who shapes the aspirations of his college students. Via his work at RCA, Thompson embodies the values of engagement, empowerment, and educational excellence, making him a real hero within the realm of Ok-12 schooling.

Dr. Richard Labbe, Superintendent of Faculties, Sayreville College District
Nominated by: Age of Learning

Dr. Richard Labbe is the superintendent of colleges within the Sayreville Public College District, with a exceptional profession spanning 30 years. His distinctive contributions to the sphere of schooling and his profitable integration of instructional expertise to speed up studying for all college students are a testomony to his dedication to foster instructional excellence.

Dr. Labbe’s spectacular tenure consists of 23 years in management roles, the place he has constantly championed progressive approaches to enhance pupil studying outcomes. In his tenth 12 months because the superintendent in Sayreville and thirteenth 12 months as a chief faculty administrator, Dr. Labbe’s ardour for early childhood schooling and literacy improvement shines via. His advocacy for early literacy has been a driving power in shaping curriculum and applications that empower younger learners.

Harnessing the ability of Age of Studying’s adaptive and personalised applications reminiscent of My Math Academy and My Studying Academy, he has revolutionized the way in which college students interact with curriculum. By leveraging edtech options, Dr. Labbe has accelerated studying, tailor-made instruction, and supplied college students with partaking applications that cater to particular person studying types.

Moreover, Dr. Labbe’s advocacy for a response to intervention (RTI) or multi-tiered strategy demonstrates his dedication to inclusivity and fairness. He ensures that each one college students, no matter their background or studying skills, obtain the mandatory help to thrive academically. This dedication exemplifies his perception within the potential of each learner.

Dr. Richard Labbe demonstrates transformative management, advocacy for early childhood schooling, and progressive use of instructional expertise. His affect on the Sayreville Public College District and the broader instructional neighborhood is immeasurable.

Laura Ascione
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